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Leslie Anne (Les) Nickels MEd, PhD

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Leslie Anne (Les) Nickels MEd, PhD Obituary
Leslie (Les) Anne Nickels, MEd, PhD, 64, peacefully passed away on Nov 27, 2017, in her Evanston IL home embraced by her loving family, following a nine-year illness with breast cancer. Born in Tomah WI, raised in Evanston, IL, she also lived in New England and Chicago IL, before settling back in Evanston in 2003. During her forty-year work career Leslie has been an activist, organizer, educator, mentor, historian, and researcher in a range of occupational and environmental activities that supported social justice and worker rights, especially touching the lives of disenfranchised groups of workers throughout the world. She first became Director of the Safety Inspection and Education Northern Illinois Division at the Illinois Department of Labor, and then Program Director for Occupational and Environmental Health at the City of Chicago. Returning to UIC, after working at the University of Illinois, Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, Chicago, IL, she became a clinical assistant professor and the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, which included the Illinois Education and Research Center. She also served as Program Director for hazardous waste, agriculture, continuing education and outreach. Leslie joined the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) Office of Communications in 2010, and in 2014, she became Director of the Office to Research to Practice. She also served as co-manager of the Global Collaborations Program, supporting NIOSH's work with the World Health Organization (WHO), and served as chair of the International Commission of Occupational Health Scientific Committee on the History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Diseases. Leslie was also an active member of the American Public Health Association, serving on its governing council and as the Occupational Health Section Secretary. Leslie received numerous awards for her work, including the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group's Lifetime Achievement Award for Worker Safety, Health, and Justice, and the National Institute on Occupational Safety & Health Alice Hamilton award. Lastly, Leslie was an avid crafter, most recently focusing on knitting and basketmaking, and especially enjoying classes at the fiber arts center, Sievers, near her summer cottage on Washington Island, Door County, WI. A memorial service to remember and celebrate Leslie's life will be conducted on Sunday, January 7, 2018 from 2-5 p.m. at a location in Chicago that is still to be identified. Donations in lieu of flowers in Leslie's memory may be made to the Latino Union of Chicago (www.latinounion.org, 312-491-9044, 4811 N. Central Park Ave 60625), or the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (www.hmprg.org, , 312-372-4292, 29 E. Madison St, Chicago IL 60602). Leslie is survived by her beloved husband, Lon, devoted daughters, Emily Berkeley (Brian Mahoney) and Elizabeth Berkeley (fiancé Stan Swat), adoring brother, Doug Nickels (Judy), loving mother, Barbara (the late Ray) Nickels, caring sister-in-law, Jill Berkeley (Larry), and dear brother-in-law, Eliezer Ben Baruch (Raphaella). She is also cherished not only by her six nieces and nephews, and numerous cousins throughout the US and United Kingdom, but by warriors for worker health, safety, and justice across the globe.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication from Nov. 29 to Dec. 7, 2017
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